Maquette for Standing Figure
1950, cast 1956
Bronze on a pine wood base
275 x 94 x 75 mm
Presented by Gustav and Elly Kahnweiler in 1974, accessioned 1994
Number 1 in an edition of 7 plus 1 artist’s copy
Technique and condition
This small bronze sculpture developed from a model made of plasticine built up over an internal wire armature, which provided support for the delicate thin forms (fig.1). This model would have been used to create a mould from which the sculpture could be cast in bronze. It is likely that the sculpture was cast using the lost wax technique because the surface of the bronze, which is mostly smooth, features some light modelling marks that were clearly reproduced from the original model (fig.2). The surface has been chased to remove seam lines created during the casting process but otherwise does not bear many marks of post-cast finishing. There are no foundry marks or inscriptions visible.
How to citeLyndsey Morgan, 'Technique and Condition', March 2011, in Alice Correia, ‘Maquette for Standing Figure 1950, cast 1956 by Henry Moore OM, CH’, catalogue entry, February 2014, in Henry Moore: Sculptural Process and Public Identity, Tate Research Publication, 2015, https://www
To make Maquette for Standing Figure Moore first had to create a model from which a mould could be taken to cast the sculpture in bronze. This model was made of plasticine built over a wire armature. Although the model has survived, over time the plasticine has become brittle and only fragments of the material exist (fig.3). However, the tool marks on the surface of the two bronze triangles were reproduced from the original model and thus reveal how Moore shaped the plasticine. This level of detail suggests that the bronze was cast using the lost wax technique.5 Moore did not cast this sculpture himself but employed the Fiorini Art Bronze Foundry in London to undertake the work in 1956, six years after the original model was made.6
Maquette for Standing Figure was the preparatory model for a much larger sculpture, Standing Figure 1950 (fig.5), which was cast in bronze in an edition of four. By the time Moore had finished the maquette, he had already intended to create the work on a larger scale. In 1968 he explained to the photographer John Hedgecoe:
The problem of establishing three-dimensional presence without creating massive solid forms preoccupied Moore in the early 1950s. A sketch showing the design of Standing Figure from two different angles (fig.7) is annotated with Moore’s thoughts about the relationship between the sculptural object and the space around it: ‘A full comprehension of form includes comprehending the understanding of space. To know completely the shape of a form means to know also the shape of the space the form displaces. To grasp form three dimensionally is a slow development (an emotional & intellectual development)’.13 This sketch is dated 1950–1 in the artist’s catalogue raisonné, and although its exact date is unknown, it was probably made in 1950.14 To the right of the two views of Standing Figure is another of Moore’s hand-written notes, stating: ‘Forms in the open air look smaller than in the enclosed space of indoors. The sky, the clouds, the landscape impinge on the sculpture & reduce its bulk & so thin linear sculpture gets lost – it seems necessary to have some bulk out of doors’.15
In 1954 the critic Robert Melville wrote that in Glenkiln, Standing Figure ‘leads a less restricted life than if it were in a museum: it is not an exhibit but a queer landmark which can be closely examined and still retain the unexaminable look of an apparition’.35 Similarly, in 1959 Neumann wrote that ‘when we see the wonderful figure standing alone in the Scottish landscape, the unique quality of these strange bronzes strikes us at once. For all its bizarre shape, no one can deny that it combines grace with monumentality ... this supernatural being stands there keeping watch over the moors’.36 Both these interpretations of the sculpture as somehow mystical and intrinsically related to the landscape were supported by atmospheric black and white photographs taken by Moore showing the sculpture at Glenkiln (fig.11).
How to cite
Alice Correia, ‘Maquette for Standing Figure 1950, cast 1956 by Henry Moore OM, CH’, catalogue entry, February 2014, in Henry Moore: Sculptural Process and Public Identity, Tate Research Publication, 2015, https://www